Tax officials from Kenya and Botswana have agreed to a landmark tax assistance project that marks the first South-South cooperation pact under the Tax Inspectors Without Borders programme.
Under the new partnership, experts from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will provide technical assistance on audits of multinational enterprises to counterparts in the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) starting in early 2017. Direct assistance in audits is a cornerstone of the HYPERLINK "http://www.tiwb.org" Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) project, which was launched in July 2015 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as an innovative attempt to address widespread tax avoidance by multinational enterprises in developing countries.
The programme aims to boost domestic resource mobilisation, which is seen as a key element towards financing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The new Kenya-Botswana cooperation agreement was announced during a seminar on domestic revenue mobilisation organised by the OECD and the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), in the margins of the 2nd High-Level Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The challenges of building fair, effective and efficient tax systems that can deliver the resources needed to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals are far bigger than any one organisation,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said. “We are proud of the concrete results that the Tax Inspectors Without Borders programme is achieving, and remain even more ambitious for the future. By ramping up our already close cooperation with ATAF, we will spread the learning-by-doing approach to further South-South cooperation and help ensure that multinationals operating in Africa pay their fair share of tax.”
TIWB organises deployment of highly qualified tax experts to countries that request assistance with ongoing audits of multinational companies. The projects focus on revenue recovery and improving local audit capacity while sending a strong message on the need for tax compliance. Eight pilot projects – in countries spanning the globe from Africa to Asia and Latin America – have resulted in more than $260 million in additional tax revenues to date. This includes more than $100 million in new tax revenues generated through TIWB audits in Zimbabwe, demonstrating the tremendous potential for future projects.
Thirteen projects are underway worldwide, in Botswana, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A range of new programmes will launch in the coming year – including new deployments of auditors to Republic of Congo, Egypt, Uganda, Cameroon and Vietnam – toward the goal of 100+ deployments by 2020.
The Kenya-Botswana partnership follows several years of growing international cooperation on tax and development issues in Africa. This includes efforts by OECD, in partnership with ATAF and the World Bank, to boost transfer pricing capacity in developing country tax administrations, as well as programmes designed to improve the legislative, regulatory and administrative ability to effectively deal with international tax issues.
An OECD-ATAF Partnership promotes both organisations’ efforts to provide technical assistance to ATAF member countries. The OECD has deployed a tax expert to ATAF, to support transfer pricing capacity building actions and TIWB work on anonymised cases in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.
OECD and ATAF have also pledged to work together to identify other instances for Africa-Africa cooperation under the TIWB initiative. "As the lead player in African tax matters, focussing on the building of capacity in tax administration, the African Tax Administration Forum is committed to work with the OECD in the Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative," said ATAF Executive Secretary Logan Wort. "The exchange of tax audit experts in timely and targeted interventions is particularly commendable. ATAF applauds the cooperation between Kenya Revenue Authority and Botswana Unified Revenue Service, which lays the foundation for inter-African capacity exchange as supported by ATAF and TIWB."
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.